DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis will sign two pieces of LGBTQ legislation into law on May 31: A bill banning conversion therapy for minors and another that will allow Coloradans to update the gender on their birth certificate without needing surgery or a court order.
The conversion therapy bill, which outlaws counseling and therapy that tries to change the sexual orientation of a person under the age of 18, was passed after several prior attempts by Democrat legislators.
House Bill 19-1129 defines conversion therapy as: “Any practice or treatment by a licensee, registrant, or certificate holder that attempts or purports to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, including efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attraction or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”
The American Psychiatric Association and other psychology governing bodies have taken stances against conversion therapy. The APA on its website says conversion therapy poses “a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated” and that it undermines a person’s self-esteem.
The birth certificate bill, known as “Jude’s Law,” was aimed at making it easier for transgender individuals to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender designation. Under the old law, transgender people who obtained a court order would only get an amended birth certificate. The new law allows people to both change their identity on their birth certificate without surgery and receive a new birth certificate.
Under bill HR19-1039, an applicant would receive a new certificate based on a written request to the state registrar which confirms the sex designation on the current birth certificate does not align with their gender identity.
For any applicants under the age of 18, a request must be provided by parents, guardian or legal representative. Also, the state registrar must receive “a statement from a professional medical or mental health care provider that either the person has undergone treatment for gender transition or the person has an intersex condition, and that in the provider’s professional opinion, the person’s gender designation should be changed accordingly. The state registrar may contact the health care provider to verify the statement.”
If someone was born in another state or country they would be allowed to request a Colorado court decree to amend a birth certificate from their place of birth.
Proponents of the bill called the measure an important move to legitimize people who have gender identity issues and will help end discrimination of transgender and non-binary individuals.
Jude’s Law comes after a policy change last November from the Colorado Department of Revenue allowing Coloradans who don’t identify as male or female to use an “X” designation on their driver’s license.